IFAWPCA Business Forum seeks clarity in procurement laws



Manila, Philippines- The present procurement law has a lot of ambiguities and unclear policies and it has to be addressed now, reflected the participants of the International Federation of Asian & Western Pacific Contractors' Associations (IFAWPCA) business forum, which organizes the gathering of public and private entities in the infrastructure sector. 


Held in Crowne Plaza Hotel last July 21, 2016, the event was graced by Government Procurement Policy Board Deputy Executive Director Elmira Caisido who tackled the Amendments of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 9184 otherwise known as the “Government Procurement Reform Act” and PPP Centre Executive Director Andre Palacios who discussed the Amendments on BOT Law.


Also present in the forum were keynote speakers Roger Murga (IFAWPCA Past President) and Ruben Reinoso (NEDA Assistant Director General.)


The Procurement Bidding Procedure


In accordance with Republic Act (RA) 9184, before a project was awarded it has to go through eight phases 1) Pre-procurement Conference, 2) Advertisement, 3) Pre-bid Conference, 4) Submissions of Bids, 5) Eligibility Documents and Technical Proposal, 6) Financial Proposal, 7) Bid Evaluation and Ranking, and (8) Post Qualification, all to ensure that a competitive bidding prevails.


However, Caisodi recognizes some challenges in attaining a competitive bid such as the existence of a municipal order that requires an accreditation process for bidders before they even get to participate in the bidding.


Determining who the Head of the Procurement Entity (HOPE) in a decentralized unit also poses a problem to the bidders. While the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of RA 9184 states that HOPE is the “Head of each decentralized unit” it also ambiguously says that the “decisions of the HOPE shall be final up to the limit of his contract approving authority.”


The BOT Law and the proposed PPP Law


Another challenge in the infrastructure industry arises in the implementation of the Republic Act 7718, or the Philippine Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law.


The BOT Law is the underlying framework of the Public Private Partnership Program (PPP) of the government. It provides a contractual arrangement whereby "the project proponent undertakes the construction including financing, of a given infrastructure facility and the operation and maintenance thereof.”


Currently, the BOT Law is being amended to what will be known as the PPP Law. In a report written in Manila Times dated April 10, PPP Executive director Palacios revealed that the passage of the PPP act aims to improve the capital market.


"It will create a better environment. Infrastructure projects are high risk by themselves and the PPP act will de-risk them," Palacios said.


The proposed PPP law also seeks to institutionalize the existing PPP best practices, the PPP governing board and the PPP Center.